Where do the words Quarterback, Quarterdeck, and Quartermaster come from?

The casual student of etymology may well be intrigued by various compound words starting in quarter, as there seems a good likelihood that certain of these may have odd and unusual beginnings.

But quarterback, for instance, is found to be, in football, the back whose position is one-quarter of the way between the line and the fullback.

Quarterdeck is, on a ship, a deck for the use of officers which covers approximately one-quarter of the area over the main deck.

And quartermaster was originally a petty officer who was responsible for the troops’ living quarters, but whose duties have now been enlarged to include responsibility for supplies in general as well as for quarters.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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